Before digital printers, the actual color neg was projected on the paper. I think the quality is better, but from a production stand point, it was a nightmare in figuring out how to balance the color. There were various devices to calculate this including color analyzers and analog video devices. Now because negative printing is digital the color balanced is calculated in the computer. The image projected on the paper is digital. However, a skilled tech is still required to calibrate the paper batches with the digital printer and the RA4 chemistry still requires the same replenishment. The digital prints to me look too "crispy" to me. Optical prints from color negs looks smoother. I dont' know if other APUGers feel the same.